Saturday, February 13, 2010

Living in a Fishbowl II

One of the tightropes that a working writer, especially in today's social networked Googlized environment, gets to walk is how much of your life do you allow to be known. In many ways, all of us are living in a fishbowl today. Every social networking site we join, every article we publish online, every web page we make, every blog post we write: All of them decrease the amount of privacy we have as writers.

For instance, if you play games on Facebook, do you really want the whole world to know that you are wasting that much time everyday...and if you need to spend that much time playing them, what does this say about your mental state? (Feel free to comment about my game playing habits in the comment section.)

In my case, the concern started early in my writing career. I was still a member of the print market at that time (technically I still do the print market)...well, the internet hadn't really begin yet...anyway, the important part is that I had to decide relatively early how much of my life I wanted to make public.

Or rather a member of my family decided for me. Horror of horrors, not only did I chose the wrong religion and set of spiritual beliefs, not only did I chose to pick the wrong profession, I actually chose to combine the two. For her sake of mind, I decided to write under a penname.

In recent years, due to various factors, this has became a problem for me. I want to send people to places to read my writing, but often they know me by my legal name and not my penname.

I decided to give up the whole pretense a couple of years ago when I realized that it was probably an open secret that Emil Michael Eckstein and Morgan Drake Eckstein was the same individual. If I could figure it out using Google, I was sure other people could too.

And honestly, I gave up caring a damn about it. Having your sole source of income be your writing tends to do that to a person. I still introduce myself to people as Morgan (except on campus, where I am Emil), but my Facebook page is under my legal name. I write my honest opinions about my religion (I am Egyptian/Norse pagan/Wiccan---feel free to comment about that combination), my involvement in Golden Dawn, my experiences in magic, my opinion about my college classes and professors, my gripes about my friends and family, my lack of ethics (if you read my Golden Dawn blog, you know what I am talking about), and anything else I feel like talking about.

The amazing part is that outside of a couple of members of my family, no one seems to care about how big of a lunatic I am. The people I went to High School with already knew that I was weird...therefore the whole town knew already (it was a small town; everyone knows everybody). Everyone in the local esoteric community knows that I have a few screws loose, but could care less (I am classified as a harmless nutcase). Heck, I am even married (don't ask me what she sees in me, I have yet to figure it out).

So in my case, living into today's internet cached Googlized fishbowl is not so bad. After all, I have been doing it my entire life without realizing it.

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